Catching Up with JMS Scholars Eikoh Hayashi & Sam Masters

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (January 4, 2024) – The MGA Foundation is proud to share that the first two recipients of the Jay Mottola Scholarship, Eikoh Hayashi (2022 recipient) and Sam Masters (2020 recipient), have graduated from college. The young men shared post-college updates with the MGAF.

Where did you attend college, and what did you study?
EH: I received a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from the University of North Dakota. I was able to graduate with honors and Magna Cum Laude.

SM: I attended Binghamton University, earning a degree in Economics.

What have you been up to since graduation?
EH: Working as a flight instructor and gaining the flight hours required to work at an airline.

SM: After graduating in May of 2022, I started searching for a job that would start my career. During this process, I also took some time to catch up with friends and see family. Still, I was committed to exploring different industries and positions before pursuing a particular direction. I’m glad I did; I got something out of every interview process. I was fortunate to reconnect with the founders of Odyssey Retail Advisors, the company I had completed a summer internship in my junior year of college. They shared with me a new position they had created and were trying to fill that would get exposure to all facets of the business. It appealed to me. I expressed my interest, and after a few conversations, I got my first real job. We are a consulting and brokerage firm specializing in high-end and luxury retail real estate across North America. We consult for and assist retailers with their real estate operations, primarily leasing, market research, and consulting for developers. I couldn’t have predicted the path I am currently on, but I am very much enjoying it. I can see the experience and knowledge I am benefiting from setting me up for some exciting future opportunities. We are a small team, which in the beginning meant I had to do a lot of self-studying to keep up, but I have grown quite fond of the environment as it allows me to take on responsibilities I otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to do. And we are growing quickly.

How did the JMS help you in the pursuit of your education?
EH: The JMS has helped me achieve my dream of becoming a pilot. The scholarship was life-changing, and I could pursue the required licenses to fly at an airline. The scholarship helped me make my final years in college rewarding, and I could focus on my academics without worrying about financial burdens.

SM: The Jay Mottola Scholarship empowered me to take full advantage of all the opportunities Binghamton University offers. It allowed me to join Binghamton Motorsports, a competitor in the Society of Automotive Engineers Formula Student National competition. As finance team lead, I combine my desire for business, sales, and organizational experience with my love for all things automotive. I learned some invaluable lessons and met some great people who are still my friends today. The JMS also helped me serve as a teaching assistant for three semesters, where I led a discussion section on macroeconomics. The public speaking and presentation experience I gained has continued to serve me in the role I have now at Odyssey Retail Advisors. It also allowed me to engage with course material in a way I would never have. These experiences and the incredible benefit of graduating from college unburdened by student debt have allowed me to pursue a career path I am genuinely excited about. I am incredibly grateful to the Mottola family and all the wonderful people at the MGA and MGACSF for all of the support throughout my college experience.

Did you think working at a golf course in high school would lead to something like this?
EH: I never imagined that working at a golf course in high school would lead to such fantastic opportunities. I started working as a caddie because I wanted to be close to the sport I love while saving money for college. Never did I think that it would impact my life this much.

SM: I never imagined caddieing would provide me with so much. The job can give young people valuable communication, organization, and entrepreneurial skills. I certainly benefited from that. But coupled with the community and organizations surrounding the profession, it’s incredible just how much the work pays dividends, both tangible and intangible, that I’m benefitting from today. As I turn towards the future and pursue other opportunities, I look forward to one day supporting the institution of golf and caddieing through organizations like the MGA, which did so much for me.

What was the biggest or best thing you learned while working at the golf course?
EH: The greatest thing I learned was my people skills. As I caddied for many different people, I learned to get a feel for my players within the first few holes. Some players wanted to enjoy a casual round of golf with their friends or family, some wanted to shoot their best score, and some played golf as their much-needed time off and to be outdoors enjoying the sun! Some players would like advice on wind or clubs; some do not need guidance and want somebody to talk to. I learned to adapt and be the best caddie to whomever I caddied for. The interpersonal skills directly transitioned to my daily life. They helped me build professional connections in the aviation industry and put me on track to become a better pilot. My communication and teamwork skills improved exponentially.

To put it in perspective, being a good pilot means being a team player. It is a given that you will be working with the people on the flight deck. Still, you will also work with other teammates, such as aircraft dispatchers, air traffic control, and other crew members, to ensure coordination throughout the flight. My job as a pilot is to effectively work as a team to ensure my crew’s and passengers’ safety.

SM: Caddieing helped me develop a work ethic at a critical time. Developing as a caddie requires a desire for continuous improvement and taking a sense of pride in the work you perform. This occurs within a meritocratic environment where the results of these efforts are meaningfully noticed over time through the loops you’re put on and the golfers you carry for. These principles of continuous improvement and pride in your work are universally applicable. I still hold myself to the standards placed on me at Bonnie Briar and commit myself fully to my responsibilities.

The Jay Mottola Scholarship (JMS) is a significant scholarship available for four years of undergraduate study. In collaboration with the local CSFs, the MGAF and JMS Committee will identify and invite top candidates to submit an essay; finalists will then be interviewed, and the award recipient will be selected. The MGA Foundation and area Caddie Scholarship Funds are thrilled to work together to honor and continue Jay’s lasting impact on caddies and the game we all love.